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a promise that this would be at once cleared up, if Sir Henry would but
consent to make the voyage; which would not only enable him to be of
essential service to his brother, but also to acquire much information
regarding him, which could only be obtained on the spot. A note from
George was enclosed in this letter. It was written with an unsteady
hand, and made no mention of his illness. He earnestly begged his
brother to come to Malta, if he could possibly so arrange it, and
transmitted his kindest love and blessing to Emily.

Sir Henry at once made up his mind, to leave Leamington for town on the
morrow, trusting that he might there meet with information which would
be more satisfactory. He concealed for the time the true state of the
case from all but Clarendon; nor did he even allude to his proposed

It was Emily's birth-day, and Gage had arranged that the whole party
should attend a little fête on that night. Sir Henry could not find it
in his heart to disturb his sister's dream of happiness.

Chapter V

The Fête.

"Ye stars! which are the poetry of heaven!
If, in your bright leaves, we would read the fate
Of men and empires, - 'tis to be forgiven,
That, in our aspirations to be great,
Our destinies o'erleap their mortal state,
And claim a kindred with you."

The night came on with its crescent moon and its myriads of stars: just
such a night as might have been wished for such a fête. It was in the
month of April. April dews, in Britain's variable clime; are not the
most salubrious, and April's night air is too often keen and piercing;
but the season was an unusually mild one; and the ladies, with their
cloaks and their furs, promenaded the well-lighted walks, determined to
be pleased and happy.

The giver of the fête was an enterprising Italian. Winter's
amusements were over, or neglected - summer's delights were not
arrived; and Signor Pacini conceived, that during the dull and
monotonous interval, a speculation of his own might prove welcome to
the public and beneficial to himself. To do the little man justice, he
was indefatigable in his exertions. From door to door he wended his
smiling way, - here praising the mother's French, there the daughter's
Italian. He gained hosts of partisans. "Of course you patronise
Pacini!" was in every one's mouth. The Signor's prospectus stated,
that "through the kindness of the steward of an influential nobleman,
who was now on the continent, he was enabled to give his fete in the
grounds of the Earl of W - - ; where a full quadrille band would be in
attendance, a pavilion pitched on the smooth lawn facing the river,
and a comfortable ball room thrown open to a fashionable and
enlightened public. The performance would be most various, novel, and
exciting. Brilliant fireworks from Vauxhall would delight the eye, and
shed a charm on the fairy scene; whilst the car would be regaled with
the unequalled harmony of the Styrian brethren, Messrs. Schezer,
Lobau, and Berdan, who had very kindly deferred their proposed return
to Styria, in order to honour the fete of Signor Pacini."

As night drew on, the mimic thunder of carriages hastening to the scene
of action, bespoke the Signor's success. After the ninth hour, his
numbers swelled rapidly. Pacini assumed an amusing importance, and his
very myrmidons gave out their brass tickets with an air. At ten, a
rocket was fired. At this preconcerted signal, the pavilion, hitherto
purposely concealed, blazed in a flood of light. On its balcony stood
the three Styrian brethren, - although, by the way, they were not
brethren at all, - and, striking their harmonious guitars, wooed
attention to their strains. The crowd hurried down the walk, and formed
round the pavilion. Our party suddenly found themselves near the
Vernons. As the gentlemen endeavoured to obtain chairs for the ladies, a
crush took place, and Sir Henry was obliged to offer his arm to Julia,
who happened to be the nearest of her party. It was with pain Miss
Vernon noted his clouded brow, and look of abstraction; but hardly one
word of recognition had passed, before the deep voices of the Styrians
silenced all. After singing some effective songs, accompanied by a
zither, and performing a melodious symphony on a variety of Jew's-harps;
Pacini, the manager, advanced to address his auditors, with that air of
smiling confidence which no one can assume with better grace than a
clever Italian. His dark eye flashed, and his whole features irradiated,
as he delivered the following harangue.

"Ladies and gentlemen! me trust you well satisfied wid de former
musical entertainment; but, if you permit, me mention one leetle
circonstance. Monsieur Schezer propose to give de song; but it require
much vat you call stage management: all must be silent as de grave. It
ver pretty morceau."

The applause at the end of this speech was very great. Signor Pacini
bowed, till his face rivalled, in its hue, the rosy under-waistcoat in
which he rejoiced.

Schezer stepped forward. He was attired as a mountaineer. His hat
tapered to the top, and was crowned by a single heron feather. Hussars
might have envied him his moustaches. From his right side protruded a
couteau de chasse; and his legs were not a little set off by the
tight-laced boots, which, coming up some way beyond the ancle, displayed
his calf to the very best advantage.

The singer's voice was a fine manly tenor, and did ample justice to the
words, of which the following may be taken as a free version.

"Mountains! dear mountains! on you have I passed my green youth; to me
your breeze has been fragrant from childhood. When may I see the chamois
bounding o'er your toppling crags? When, oh when, may I see my
fair-haired Mary?"

The minstrel paused - a sound was heard from behind the pavilion. It was
the mountain's echo. It continued the air - then died away in the
softest harmony. All were charmed. Again the singer stepped
forward - the utmost silence prevailed - his tones became more
impassioned - they breathed of love.

"Thanks! thanks to thee, gentle echo! Oft hast thou responded to the
strains of love my soul poured to - ah me! how beautiful was the
fair-haired Mary!"

Again the echo spoke - again all were hushed. The minstrel's voice rose
again; but its tones were not akin to joy.

"Why remember this, deceitful echo? War's blast hath blown, and hushed
are the notes of love. The foe hath polluted my hearth - I wander an
exile. Where, where is Mary?"

The echo faintly but plaintively replied. There were some imagined that
a tear really started to the eye of the singer. He struck the guitar
wildly - his voice became more agitated - he advanced to the extremity of
the balcony.

"My sword! my sword! May my right hand be withered ere it forget to
grasp its hilt! One blow for freedom. Freedom - sweet as was the
lip - Yes! I'll revenge my Mary!"

Schezer paused, apparently overcome by his emotion. The echo wildly
replied, as if registering the patriot's vow. For a moment all was
still! A thundering burst of applause ensued.

The mountain music was succeeded by a sweep of guitars, accompanying a
Venetian serenade, whose burthen was the apostrophising the cruelty of
"la cara Nina."

It was near midnight, when all eyes were directed to a ball of fire,
which, rising majestically upward, soared amid the tall elm trees. For a
moment, the balloon became entangled in the boughs, revealing by its
transparent light the green buds of spring, which variegated and cheered
the scathed bark. It broke loose from their embrace - hovered
irresolutely above them - then swept rapidly before the wind, rising till
it became as a speck in the firmament.

This was the signal for Mr. Robinson's fireworks, which did not shame
Vauxhall's reputation. At one moment, a salamander courted notice; at
another, a train of fiery honours, festooned round four wooden pillars,
was fired at different places, by as many doves practised to the task.
Here, an imitation of a jet d'eau elicited applause - there, the
gyrations of a Catherine's wheel were suddenly interrupted by the rapid
ascent of a Roman candle.

Directly after the ascent of the balloon, Emily and Clarendon had
turned towards the ball room. Julia's sisters had a group of laughing
beaux round their chairs, - Mrs. Glenallan and Mrs. Vernon were
discussing bygone days, - and no one seemed disposed to leave the
pavilion. Sir Henry, in his silent mood, was glad to escape from the
party; and engaging Julia in a search for Emily, made his way to the
crowded ball room. He there found his sister spinning round with
Clarendon to one of Strauss's waltzes; and Sir Henry and his partner
seated themselves on one of the benches, watching the smiling faces as
they whirled past them. It was a melancholy thought to Delmé, how soon
Emily's brow would be clouded, were he to breathe one word of George's
illness and despondency. The waltz concluded, a quadrille was quickly
formed. Miss Vernon declined dancing, and they rose to join Emily and
Clarendon; but the lovers were flown. The ball room became still more
thronged; and Delmé was glad to turn once more towards the pavilion. The
party they had left there had also vanished, and strangers usurped their
seats. In this dilemma, Miss Vernon proposed seeking their party in the
long walk. They took one or two turns down this, but saw not those for
whom they were in search.

"If you do not dislike leaving this busy scene," said Sir Henry, "I
think we shall have a better chance of meeting Emily and Clarendon, if
we turn down one of these winding paths."

They turned to their left, and walked on. How beautiful was that night!
Its calm tranquillity, as they receded from the giddy throng, could not
but subdue them. We have said that the moon was not riding the heavens
in her full robe of majesty, nor was there a sombre darkness. The purple
vault was spangled thick with stars; and there reigned that dubious,
glimmering light, by which you can note a face, but not mark its blush.
The walks wound fantastically. They were lit by festoons of coloured
lamps, attached to the neighbouring trees, so as to resemble the pendent
grape-clusters, that the traveller meets with just previous to the
Bolognese vintage. Occasionally, a path would be encountered where no
light met the eye save that of the prying stars overhead. In the
distant vista, might be seen a part of the crowded promenade, where
music held its court; whilst at intervals, a voice's swell or guitar's
tinkle would be borne on the ear. There was the hum of men, too - the
laugh of the idlers without the sanctum, as they indulged in the
delights of the mischievous fire-ball - and the sudden whizz, followed by
an upward glare of light, as a rocket shot into the air. But the hour,
and the nameless feeling that hour invoked, brought with them a subduing
influence, which overpowered these intruding sounds, attuning the heart
to love and praise. They paced the walk in mutual and embarrassed
silence. Sir Henry's thoughts would at one time revert to his brother,
and at another to that parting, which the morrow would assuredly bring
with it. He was lost in reverie, and almost forgot who it was that leant
thus heavily upon his arm. Julia had loved but once. She saw his
abstraction, and knew not the cause; and her timid heart beat quicker
than was its wont, as undefined images of coming evil and sorrow, chased
each other through her excited fancy. At length she essayed to speak,
although conscious that her voice faltered.

"What a lovely night! Are you a believer in the language of the stars?"

This was said with such simplicity of manner, that Delmé, as he turned
to answer her, felt truly for the first time the full force of his
attachment. He felt it the more strongly, that his mind previously had
been wandering more than it had done for years.

There are times and seasons when we are engrossed in a train of deep and
unconscious thought. Suddenly recalled to ourselves, we start from our
mental aberration, and a clearer insight into the immediate purposes and
machinery of our lives, is afforded us. We seem endowed with a more
accurate knowledge of self; the inmost workings of our souls are
abruptly revealed - feeling's mysteries stand developed - our weaknesses
stare us in the face - and our vices appear to gnaw the very vitals of
our hope. The veil was indeed withdrawn, - and Delmé's heart
acknowledged, that the fair being who leant on him for support, was
dearer - far dearer, than all beside. But he saw too, ambition in that
heart's deep recess, and knew that its dictates, unopposed for years,
were totally incompatible with such a love. He saw and trembled.

Julia's question was repeated, before Sir Henry could reply.

"A soldier, Miss Vernon, is particularly susceptible of visionary ideas.
On the lone bivouac, or remote piquet, duty must frequently chase sleep
from his eyelids. At such times, I have, I confess, indulged in wild
speculations, on their possible influence on our wayward destinies. I
was then a youth, and should not now, I much fear me, pursue with such
unchecked ardour, the dreams of romance in which I could then
unrestrainedly revel. Perhaps I should not think it wise to do so, even
had not sober reality stolen from imagination her brightest pinion."

"I would fain hope, Sir Henry," replied Julia, "that all your mind's
elasticity is not thus flown. Why blame such fanciful theories? I cannot
think them wrong, and I have often passed happy hours in forming them."

"Simply because they remove us too much from our natural sphere of
usefulness. They may impart us pleasure; but I question whether, by
dulling our mundane delights, they do not steal pleasure quite
equivalent. Besides, they cannot assist us in conferring happiness on
others, or in gleaning improvement for ourselves. I am not quite
certain, enviable as appears the distinction, whether the _too_
feelingly appreciating even nature's beauties, does not bear with it its
own retribution."

"Ah! do not say so! I cannot think that it _should_ be so with minds
properly regulated. I cannot think that _such_ can ever gaze on the
wonders revealed us, without these imparting their lesson of gratitude
and adoration. If, full of hope, our eye turns to some glorious planet,
and we fondly deem that _there_, may our dreams of happiness _here,_ be
perpetuated; surely in such poetical fancy, there is little to condemn,
and much that may wean us from folly's idle cravings.

"If in melancholy's hour, we mourn for one who hath been dear, and sorrow
for the perishable nature of all that may here claim our earthly
affections; is it not sweet to think that in another world - perhaps in
some bright star - we may again commune with what we have _so_
loved - once more be united in those kindly bonds - and in a kingdom where
those bonds may not thus lightly be severed?"

Julia's voice failed her; for she thought of one who had preceded her to
"the last sad bourne."

Delmé was much affected. He turned towards her, and his hand
touched hers.

"Angelic being!"

As he spoke, darker, more worldly thoughts arose. A fearful struggle,
which convulsed his features, ensued. The world triumphed.

Julia Vernon saw much of this, and maiden delicacy told her it was not
meet they should be alone.

"Let us join the crowd!" said she. "We shall probably meet our party in
the long walk: if not, we will try the ball room."

Poor Julia! little was her heart in unison with that joyous scene!

By the eve of the morrow, Delmé was many leagues from her and his

Restless man, with travel, ambition, and excitement, can woo and almost
win oblivion; - but poor, weak, confiding woman - what is left to her?

In secret to mourn, and in secret still to love.

Chapter III.

The Journey.

"Adieu! adieu! My native land
Fades o'er the ocean blue;
The night winds sigh - the breakers roar -
And shrieks the wild sea mew.
Yon sun that sets upon the sea,
We follow in his flight:
Farewell awhile to him and thee!
My native land! good night!"

We have rapidly sketched the dénouement of the preceding chapter; but it
must not be forgotten, that Delmé had been residing some months at
Leamington, and that Emily and Julia were friends. In his own familiar
circle - a severe but true test - Sir Henry had every opportunity of
becoming acquainted with Miss Vernon's sweetness of disposition, and of
appreciating the many excellencies of her character. For the rest,
their intercourse had been of that nature, that it need excite no
surprise, that a walk on a gala night, had the power of extracting an
avowal, which, crude, undigested, and hastily withdrawn as it was, was
certainly more the effusion of the heart - more consonant with Sir
Henry's original nature - than the sage reasonings on his part, which
preceded and followed that event.

On Delmé's arrival in town, he prosecuted with energy his enquiries as
to his brother. He called on the regimental agents, who could give him
no information. George's military friends had lost sight of him since he
had sailed for the Mediterranean; and of the few persons, whom he could
hear of, who had lately left Malta; some were passing travellers, who
had made no acquaintances there, others, English merchants, who had met
George at the Opera and in the streets, but nowhere else. It is true,
there was an exception to this, in the case of a hair-brained young
midshipman; who stated that he had dined at George's regimental mess,
and had there heard that George "had fallen in love with some young
lady, and had fought with her brother or uncle, or a soldier-officer, he
did not know which."

Meagre as all this information was, it decided Sir Henry Delmé.

He wrote a long letter to Emily, in which he expressed a hope that both
George and himself would soon be with her, and immediately prepared for
his departure.

Ere we follow him on his lonely journey, let us turn to those he left
behind. Mrs. Glenallan and Emily decided on at once leaving Leamington
for their own home. The marriage of the latter was deferred; and as
Clarendon confessed that his period of probation was a very happy one,
he acquiesced cheerfully in the arrangement. Emily called on the
Vernons, and finding that Julia was not at home, wrote her a kind
farewell; secretly hoping that at some future period they might be more
nearly related. The sun was sinking, as the travellers neared Delmé. The
old mansion looked as calm as ever. The blue smoke curled above its
sombre roof; and the rooks sailed over the chimneys, flapping their
wings, and cawing rejoicefully, as they caught the first glimpse of
their lofty homes. Emily let down the carriage window, and with sunshiny
tear, looked out on the home of her ancestors.

There let us leave her; and turn to bid adieu for a season, to one, who
for many a weary day, was doomed to undergo the pangs of blighted
affection. Such pangs are but too poignant and enduring, let the
worldly man say what he may. Could we but read the history of the
snarling cynic, blind to this world's good - of him, who from being the
deceived, has become the deceiver - of the rash sensualist, who plunging
into vice, thinks he can forget; - could we but know the train of
events, that have brought the stamping madman to his bars - and his
cell - and his realms of phantasy; - or search the breast of her, who
lets concealment "feed on her damask cheek" - who prays blessings on
him, who hath wasted her youthful charms - then mounts with virgin soul
to heaven: - we, in our turn, might sneer at the worldling, and pin our
fate on the tale of the peasant girl, who discourses so glibly of
crossed love and broken hearts.

Sir Henry Delmé left England with very unenviable sensations. A cloud
seemed to hang over the fate of his brother, which no speculations of
his could pierce. Numberless were the conjectures he formed, as to the
real causes of George's sickness and mental depression. It was in vain
he re-read the letters, and varied his comments on their contents. It
was evident, that nothing but his actual presence in Malta, could
unravel the mystery. Sir Henry had _one_ consolation; how great, let
those judge who have had aught dear placed in circumstances at all
similar. He had a confidence in George's character, which entirely
relieved him from any fear that the slightest taint could have infected
it. But an act of imprudence might have destroyed his peace of
mind - sickness have wasted his body. Nor was his uncertainty regarding
George, Delmé's only cause of disquiet. When he thought of Julia
Vernon, there was a consequent internal emotion, that he could not
subdue. He endeavoured to forget her - her image haunted him. He
meditated on his past conduct; and at times it occurred to him, that
the resolutions he had formed, were not the result of reason, but were
based on pride and prejudice. He thought of her as he had last seen
her. _Now_ she spoke with enthusiasm of the bright stars of heaven;
anon, her eye glistened with piety, as she showed how the feeling these
created, was but subservient to a nobler one still. Again, he was
beside her in the moment of maiden agony; when low accents faltered
from her quivering lip, and the hand that rested on his arm, trembled
from her heart's emotion.

Such were the bitter fancies that assailed him, as he left his own, and
reached a foreign land. They cast a shadow on his brow, which change of
scene possessed no charm to dispel. He hurried on to France's capital,
and only delaying till he could get his passports signed, hastened from
Paris to Marseilles.

On his arrival at the latter place, his first enquiries were, as to the
earliest period that a vessel would sail for Malta. He was pointed out a
small yacht in the harbour, which belonging to the British government,
had lately brought over a staff officer with despatches.

A courier from England had that morning arrived - the vessel was about to
return - her canvas was already loosened - the blue Peter streaming in the
wind. Delmé hesitated not an instant, but threw himself into a boat, and
was rowed alongside. The yacht's commander was a lieutenant in our
service, although a Maltese by birth. He at once entered into Sir
Henry's views, and felt delighted at the prospect of a companion in his
voyage. A short time elapsed - the anchor was up - the white sails began
to fill - Sir Henry was once more on the wide sea.

What a feeling of loneliness, almost of despair, infects the landsman's
mind, as he recedes from an unfamiliar port - sees crowds watching
listlessly his vessel's departure - crowds, of whom not one feels an
interest in _his_ fate; and then, turning to the little world within,
beholds but faces he knows not, persons he wots not of!

But to one whose home is the ocean, such are not the emotions which
its expanse of broad waters calls forth. To such an one, each plank
seems a friend; the vessel, a refuge from the world and its cares.
Trusting himself to its guidance, deceit wounds him no
more - hollow-hearted friendship proffers not its hand to sting - love
exercises not its fatal sorcery - foes are afar - and his heart, if not
the waves, is comparatively at peace. And oh! the wonders of the deep!
Ocean! tame is the soul that loves not thee! grovelling the mind that
scorns the joys thou impartest! To lean our head on the vessel's side,
and in idleness of spirit ponder on bygone scene, that has brought us
anything but happiness, - to gaze on the curling waves, as impelled by
the boisterous wind, we ride o'er the angry waters, lashed by the sable
keel to a yeasty madness, - to look afar upon the disturbed billow,
presenting its crested head like the curved neck of the war
horse, - _then_ to mark the screaming sea bird, as, his bright eye
scanning the waters, he soars above the stormy main - its wide tumult
his delight - the roaring of the winds his melody - the shrieks of the
drowned an harmonious symphony to the hoarse diapason of the deep! All
these things may awake reflections, which are alike futile and
transitory; but they are accompanied by a mental excitement, which land
scenes, however glorious, always fail to impart.

Delmé's voyage was not unpropitious, although the yacht was frequently
baffled by contrary winds, which prevented the passage being very
speedy. During the day, the weather was ordinarily blustering, at times
stormy; but with the setting sun, it seemed that tranquillity came; for
during the nights, which were uncommonly fine, gentle breezes continued
to fill the sails, and their vessel made tardy but sure progress. Henry

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